June 2021

on current events

As of May 31:

As of May 31, 2021, the CDC'd Covid tracker shows Vaccinations in the United States: across the US, 50% with at least one dose, 41% fully vaccinated. Pima County is 43% fully vaccinated.

See a bubble chart comparing the vaccination rates by state across the US, by mSightly, based on data by the CDC.

While the US has been able to speed up vaccinations, the rest of the world:

It may be June 1st today, but this probably applies to many, still:

According to a survey conducted by Pumpkin Care pet insurance, 36% of pet parents said their dog gained weight during the pandemic. And 56% said when they gained weight, their dogs did too.

Meanwhile, as Covid infections are decreasing in the US, Apple has reopened about 100 stores, including in California, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and more.

iOS & Apple news

WWDC is coming up:watch on June 7 at 10 am PT.

Apple recently announced powerful software features designed for people with mobility, vision, hearing, and cognitive disabilities. `Later this year, with software updates across all of Apple’s operating systems, people with limb differences will be able to navigate Apple Watch using AssistiveTouch; iPad will support third-party eye-tracking hardware for easier control; and for blind and low vision communities, Apple’s industry-leading VoiceOver screen reader will get even smarter using on-device intelligence to explore objects within images. In support of neurodiversity, Apple is introducing new background sounds to help minimize distractions, and for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, Made for iPhone (MFi) will soon support new bi-directional hearing aids.'

Take a look at a preview of Apple Watch with AssistiveTouch, and imagine the future possibilities:

The new purple colored iPhone 12 unboxed:


Joanna Stern used and reviewed AirTags vs. Tile on finding your lost stuff. She also used a trained dog to up the competition. Watch the entertaining video:

(cont'd) ... but Joanna Stern also raises questions about the possibility of nefarious tracking, Apple has responded on how they have designed to avoid this, while Joanna reminds us all that how we choose to use our technology has big implications.

iOS 14.6

iOS 14.6 has been released: an overview of the new features, by Macrumors.

Starting with iOS 14.5, privacy is increased thanks to the new option for users to ask apps not to track them.

Apple released a new ad:

Too Bad, Zuck: Just 4% of U.S. iPhone Users Let Apps Track Them After iOS Update, Gizmodo reports.

The Verge reports that Apple held talks with EV startup Canoo in 2020, `As part of the Silicon Valley giant’s secretive push into the automotive space.'

The Verge reports: `Apple held meetings with California EV startup Canoo in the first half of 2020 as part of the Silicon Valley giant’s secretive effort to advance its own electric vehicle project, three people familiar with the talks have told The Verge. The two companies discussed options ranging from investment to an acquisition, according to two of the people.'

Meanwhile, Canoo has an electric van in the works and they announced pricing for this electric van, The Verge reports, starting at $34K.

Zoom has just announced: Zoom adds support for new iPad Pro Center Stage feature. They write: `Attention all iPad Zoomers! You’ve got some great new features coming to the Zoom app on Apple’s latest iPad Pro models, which were announced at Apple’s Spring Loaded event on April 20. Two new features – support for Apple’s Center Stage and expanded Gallery View – will help you better participate in calls, potentially stave off video fatigue, and better connect over Zoom.'

(cont'd): Also, `Previous iPad models can display up to 25 video tiles in Gallery View, but those using Zoom on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro can now see up to 48 video tiles (6×8 in Landscape Mode), allowing them to better connect in large meetings.'

LeBron James shows up on Instagram wearing the new unreleased Beats Studio Buds, reports 9to5mac. `Although the earbuds had already been approved by the FCC, the company has yet to announce the product. However, it seems that LeBron James already has a pair of the new Beats Studio Buds.’

[ RUMOR ] Apple plans Redesigned AirPods for 2021, New AirPods Pro in 2022, reports Bloomberg. `The new base AirPods will mark the first update to the product since March 2019 and will add a new design that mostly mirrors that of the AirPods Pro. The earbuds will come with a new case and shorter stems poking out of the bottom of each one.’

Apple Music

Apple announced that Apple Music will now offer 2 new features: Lossless audio and Spatial Audio. This started in June 2021 at no additional cost, a feature for all Apple Music subscribers. This will apply to the entire catalogue.

Some highlights:

Apple announced: `Apple Music is bringing industry-leading sound quality to subscribers with the addition of Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos. Spatial Audio gives artists the opportunity to create immersive audio experiences for their fans with true multidimensional sound and clarity. Apple Music subscribers will also be able to listen to more than 75 million songs in Lossless Audio — the way the artists created them in the studio. These new features will be available for Apple Music subscribers starting next month at no additional cost.’

`By default, Apple Music will automatically play Dolby Atmos tracks on all AirPods and Beats headphones with an H1 or W1 chip, as well as the built-in speakers in the latest versions of iPhone, iPad, and Mac.’

Regarding the 2nd feature in this announcement, Apple said: `Apple Music will also make its catalog of more than 75 million songs available in Lossless Audio. Apple uses ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) to preserve every single bit of the original audio file. This means Apple Music subscribers will be able to hear the exact same thing that the artists created in the studio.'

`To start listening to Lossless Audio, subscribers using the latest version of Apple Music can turn it on in Settings > Music > Audio Quality. Here, they can choose different resolutions for different connections such as cellular, Wi-Fi, or for download. Apple Music’s Lossless tier starts at CD quality, which is 16 bit at 44.1 kHz (kilohertz), and goes up to 24 bit at 48 kHz and is playable natively on Apple devices. For the true audiophile, Apple Music also offers Hi-Resolution Lossless all the way up to 24 bit at 192 kHz.’

`Due to the large file sizes and bandwidth needed for Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless Audio, subscribers will need to opt in to the experience. Hi-Res Lossless also requires external equipment, such as a USB digital-to-analog converter (DAC).’

The new experience will be available to all subscribers at no extra cost, even for High-res lossless. The latter will require a special adapter to enjoy.

about spatial audio and lossless

Dolby Atmos is surround sound developed by Dolby, and `expands on existing surround sound systems by adding height channels, allowing sound to be interpreted as 3D objects', describes Wikipeda. Here is Dolby Atmos: How it works and Why it's cool, by CNET.

Apple's announcement is `Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos'. Here is a look at Apple's Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos, as AppleInsider describes the features.

What about Lossless audio?

More info on what is lossless audio & the supported devices.

photography & video

M1 iPad Pro for photographers: a review by Austin Mann.

There are occasions when you want to be able to control your iPhone camera remotely -- for example, when taking a group photo and want to be n it, or when you are using a tripod and do not want to mess up the composition. How to remotely control your iPhone's camera, an overview by Macworld, describes 4 options: via Apple Watch, or via Voice control, or via Siri, or via a shutter camera remote (separate purchase, can be around $10).

Roger S. points us to this nice overview of the 5 different ways to release the shutter button of your iPhone. Each way can be useful for a different photography scenario. Take a look:

iOS apps

The Apple App Store interviewed Joseph Cohen , the developer of Universe, an iOS website builder. This app lets you create a website on your iPhone or iPad with no effort. No web experience or coding skills needed. You can create a new website for your small business, portfolio, or anything you want, in just minutes.

KenKen is a puzzle similar to Sudoku but with numbers. It is simple, addictive, and fun. Yes, there are apps! Consider Calcudoku, a free app, which offers many levels starting from easy and progressively gettings harder. Also, KenKen Classic, is another free app (ad-supported with optional payment to remove the ads). If you want to read about the KenKen puzzle’s origin, read or watch the brief video documentary: The Puzzle Inventor Who Makes Math Beautiful , the New Yorker's profile of the Japanese inventor of KenKen.

Fliqlo is an ap for iPhone, iPad, or Mac. It turns your device into a large clock. On a Mac, it works as a screensaver. On iOS you need to start the app manually. The Fliqlo features make it a simple and easy to use digital clock that can be seen from across the room.

tips & tricks

These two camera tricks are very nice, especially if you are in a hurry. (Note that these were included in the longer video demo in the Photography section above. The video in the earlier section includes more photo tips than just these 2 quick tips):

Bring up the camera in photo mode. Tap the shutter button and drag to the right. You will see a second button appear. As soon as it appears, just let go, and now you are recording a video. [This tip is very useful if your default start for camera is in picture mode.]

Bring up the camera in photo mode. Touch and drag the shutter button to the left. Now you are taking photos in burst mode. (Note: do not linger when you tap, just tap and immediately start to drag left.)

If you need to subscribe to calendars, consider WebCal.guru. They offer many free ones, including moon phases, holidays, and more.

gadgets & accessories

Mary Anne told us about Meross smart gadgets. They work with Apple's HomeKit. Mary Anne got their Dual Smart Plug from Amazon and she's happy with it. Olga also got one and reports it works well.

Bernie reports that he got an Otterbox Symmetry case for his new iPad Pro 12.9'' from the Apple store.

The Lamicall stand can hold an iPad or an iPhone. You can use your device in landscape or portrait orientation and have it stand on your desk or table to read or watch something.

Got many devices? DOCK5 multi-device charging station lets you neatly organize and charge your devices in one place.

Magnet vent mount lets you mount your iPhone to your car’s air vent. It holds your iPhone using a magnet.


With iOS 14.5, Apple Card supports adding a co-owner. You can have up to 6 people (yourself plus up to 5 more). Here's how:

Also, you can add a participant. Here's how:

Here is Apple's support document on these new options.


Just in time for June and Pride Month: Apple unveils 2 new Apple Watch Pride Edition watch bands and watch faces. Also, check out the online sizing tool to make sure you select the correct Solo Loop band size.

Apple has released a watchOS 7.5 update to provide the 2 new Pride watchfaces.

Additionally, watchOS 7.5 offers support for podcast subscription and Apple Card family sharing support.

Pat and Betty point us to this incredible story: A woman gave birth prematurely on a flight to Hawaii.. By great good luck, the same flight had 3 Neonatal ICU nurses plus a doctor! The mom apparently was unaware that she was pregnant until she went into labor during the flight. The doctor and nurses were summoned. The doctor used an Apple Watch to monitor the newborn’s heart rate. The baby was born during the flight, prematurely at 29 weeks. Upon landing, mom + baby were transfered to a hospital for complete care.

IDC market research shows Apple Is Still The ‘clear Leader’ In The Wearables Market.

privacy & security

Facebook still `secretly' tracks your iPhone & here is how to stop it , reports Forbes. They write: `Despite me telling my iPhone “never” to allow Facebook access to my location, despite me checking Facebook online to confirm it knows “location history for mobile devices” is set to “off.” Facebook continues to exploit a loophole, harvesting photo location tags and IP addresses, all of which it will, in its own words, `collect and process.'' The primary source of data is from EXIF photo data (the photo metadata).

If you have Amazon devices, you may want to opt out of Amazon Sidewalk, reports 9to5mac. What is Sidewalk, you say? `Amazon Sidewalk will automatically be switched on as of June 8, unless you opt out. The company has announced it rather quietly. What it does is allow your devices to connect to your neighbor’s Wi-Fi, and to allow your neighbor’s devices to connect to yours – all without exchanging passwords.'

A Twitter thread worth reading, by Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, about the Google case led by AZ Attorney General. Read the whoel thread, with copies of the relevant sections from the deposition, including: Most damning in newly unsealed evidence (1) Google’s employees admitting there's almost no way NOT to provide your location to Google (2) Google designs its ecosystem for location data collection. “This doesn’t sound like something we would want on the front page of the NYT.”

The full set of documents posted by the Arizona Attorney General.

general news and crossover

What to do if you experience a data breach, a useful list by Consumer Reports.

Shorty Awards `honor the best of social media and digital by recognizing the influencers, creators, brands and organizations’ on social media across the internet. The 13th Annual Shorty Awards were recently announced.

How one person created a 'traffic jam' on Google Maps using a cart full of cellphones.

next meeting

Our next iPUG meeting is on Tuesday July 6.